NaNo 2017 Lego Thing Part One
It was a strange day at Beanland.
Firstly, the sun was out. That could usually go either way…but in November, it meant “Weird.” In the summer, customers flocked to Hillsvale’s downtown, ready to buy things and then sit outside enjoying them, instead of inside. This made Beanland a perfect haven for writers who wanted to cower inside away from the burning orb.
But other seasons were unpredictable. Sunny days in fall would sometimes lead to the same sort of joyous outside celebrations…while other times they just meant that no one would show up at all.
Except for those weird writers.
Beanland had changed hands 10 months ago, back in the blustery days of January, back before sun was even a twinkle in anyone’s brain. Randy, the founder and owner, was sick of it. Selena, his best barista, was ready to take on the challenge of running a business. The deal closed faster than any other business sale ever had in Hillsvale. Usually, there was lots of hand-wringing, pondering, and “processing” to be done.
With Beanland, Randy just turned to Selena one say and said, “Hey, you want to buy this place?”
Selena blinked once and said, “Yes!”
They drew up a basic contract on a piece of paper from the back office, and Randy was home in time to watch some sort of sport.
A good writer would have put a real sport in there, but I can never remember what sports are happening in January. I feel like football is too short in general, and baseball and basketball both go on for far too long. I think that there should either be a nice middle ground, where one sport is happening at any given time…or they should just all go ALL OUT and have all the sports, all the time. Imagine if you could watch your favorite type of sporting competition any week, whenever you wanted? That’d be a crazy world right?
Well, *that’s* what professional wrestling tries to be.
How did I get over here?
Selena’s first order of business was to immediately change the theming of Beanland. For well over a decade, Beanland’s theme had been “Doors.” So there were doors everywhere. On the walls. On the ceiling. Some of them even opened and lead to bathrooms.
It wasn’t that Selena hated doors so much as she was looking for a change. When you’ve spent years at your job looking at the same set of funky doors, it gets a little old. So she called in favors from all of her friends and had the doors removed. Then she had every wall coated in dark tones, almost like the place was a black box theatre. Most of the clientele at Beanland was made up of weird people that spent hours on laptops, or random people that just wanted to have a business meeting. Selena knew that they wouldn’t care what the coffee shop was themed like.
Business picked up immediately, and nearly everyone asked Selena where the doors had went. She hadn’t seen that coming, but it did give her the opportunity to get to know her customer base a little better and try to sell them on the new menu. Normally, Selena said almost nothing to her customers. She was direct and to the point.
In addition to killing off the doors, Selena killed the open mic night that happened every Friday. It was always full of terrible poets. Worse, none of these poets ever bought anything in the coffee shop. Randy had tried to convince some of the writers who actually enjoyed, and paid for, his coffee to participate in the open mic night… but they weren’t interested.
Alex parked his car outside Beanland. The air was a little crisp and cold, but it was also sunny out. “Uh oh, it might be really packed inside.”
Beanland was almost empty inside. Selena was standing behind the counter with her arms folded and a slight frown on her face. Alex thought Selena was great at her job and appreciated her no-nonsense nature. He hated having fake conversations with the baristas at other chain coffee shops. Sure, it created an “atmosphere of friendliness,” but Alex loathed not knowing whether people were actually being friendly, or if they were just being paid to seem that way.
No such illusions existed with Selena. She went right to the point with everyone.
Alex knew not to waste time with a greeting as he approached the counter. “I’ll take a medium Mocha, please.”
“Okay great, that’s $4.00.”
Alex awkwardly swiped around on his phone and finally got it to scan on the card reader. “I still haven’t gotten used to how this works.”
Selena ignored the comment and punched some buttons on the cash register screen. “You doing NaNoWriMo this year?”
Alex was stunned by this level of personal interaction. “Uh. Yes? I think so?” He left a tip on the payment screen.
“Have this right out for you.”
Selena got to work on the coffee, and whipped out a delicious mocha in what felt like 3 seconds. Alex grabbed it from the counter. “Thank you.”
Just then another customer came in and Selena returned to the front counter. She ran the place by herself on most mornings, even when it was busy.
Alex sipped his mocha and went to the far corner of the store. He liked to sit back there, because there was a small table that was perfectly-sized for his little computer, and he didn’t feel bad about taking up one of the shop’s three outlets. Most people had adapted to this fact through portable power packs or remembering to charge up beforehand, but the die-hard plug users were always fighting over the seats with easy cord reach.
One of these fine folks approached Selena on her first day running the shop and asked, “Do you have any plans to add more outlets to the store?”
Selena blinked once and said, “No.”
And that was that.
Alex had lied earlier when he told Selena that he was planning on doing NaNoWriMo. Is that supposed to be inter-capped? I don’t even know.
He’d been vaguely aware that the insane novel-writing time of year was coming up, but had made zero plans about actually doing it. Although, he *did* have a stupid project in mind that might be a perfect fit.
Alex took another sip of his perfect mocha. The chocolate ran slowly down the back of his throat, and his lips were coated—
No no. This isn’t a terrible romance novel,
Alex opened his laptop and fired it up. He opened his writing software. He gave his project an awkward title and then immediately took to the internet to talk with a friend.
“I’m thinking of doing NaNoWriMo,” he wrote to his friend, unsure of whether it was supposed to be inter-capped or not.
Oh yeah? Doesn’t that start like…today?
“Yes! But I have this stupid project in mind and I think it’ll work well. Normally, I try and write something that could actually be sold as a real novel one day. But this year I’m thinking of writing fanfiction.”
Have you ever written any fanfiction before?
“Not really! So I’ve been playing this Lego video game and I was thinking of writing some Lego City fanfiction.”
What? Like, based on the first part of that movie?
“Sort of! The game I’m playing is called Lego City Undercover, and it’s about cops in the Lego City world. It has some really funny characters, and I’ve wanted to write something funny for a while, but I think all of my comedy settings are kind of stupid. I mean, there’s a town, and a fantasy town, and…that’s about it.”
Yes. So clearly, a town made out of Lego is a big leap for you.
“Okay okay, I know it’s not. But that’s the inspiration I have right now, so I’m thinking of just running with it.”
Frank Honey sauntered into his office. Well, he walked in the way that he *imagined* someone sauntering would walk. He’d never actually heard the word “saunter” before it popped into his head as he entered his new office. So he just kind of wiggled his legs carefully as he walked in, then shut the door.
Honey had been fired from the Lego City Police Department for a whole string of continued incompetence, but he didn’t care. He took everything in stride.
So he’d started his own detective agency even though he couldn’t even detect where his apartment’s address was on most days.
Frank reached up and swished his hand through his hair…which then immediately popped off his head since it was just a piece of plastic. “Oh no, not again!” He scrambled around after the hair, which rolled along like an empty pie tin. It clattered against the office door he had only just sauntered through.
“Ah, there you are old hair friend. You’re so funny and round!” Just as Frank reached out to pick up his hair, the door flew open, knocking Frank to the ground and sending his hair flying into the far wall where it clattered behind the desk. In the doorway was his old co-worker, super cop Chase McCain.
“Wooooow!,” yelled Frank excitedly, clapping as he got up off the floor. “My new office door is magical and it brought my old friend to me!”
Chase didn’t know how to take this. “Er. Hi Frank! I…like your new look?”
“My hair fell on the floor again!”
Chase ignored this, as he usually did with Honey. “Listen Frank, I’m not really supposed to be here, but we need your help. A celebrity came to town, and we were supposed to escort her from the airport.”
“I am completely listening to you and not at all looking around for my hair. Please have a seat!”
Chase walked over to the desk. In front of it were some old bananas and a half-assembled pirate flag. “I’ll uh. I think I’ll stand.”
Frank triumphantly returned his hair to his head. “I’ll take the case!”
“I haven’t told you what the case is yet. Listen, we have this dignitary in town and we lost track of her. A mysterious gang of clowns might be involved.”
Frank grimaced. “Oh no clowns! I hate them!” Frank got under his desk, then peered over the edge and whispered, “I’m going to hide under my desk. Don’t tell the clowns where I am please.”
“Snap out of it Frank! I need your help if we’re going to find Catwoman!”
Frank jumped back out from under the desk. “Catwoman? From the comic books?”
Lego Batman destroyed the office door with a hundred perfectly-thrown batarangs. It clattered into a million bricks on the floor.
“If anyone is going to find Catwoman, it’s going to be *me.*”